THE owner of a town centre landmark has discouraged donations to a social networking campaign aimed at saving it.

Accrington’s Grade II listed Conservative Club is the subject of a Facebook campaign, urging the community to club together to help save the deteriorating building.

But any funds raised could not be used without the owner’s permission.

And owner Iftikharul Bhatti said he had not given permission for anyone to fundraise and had no knowledge of the campaign.

He said: “Quite simply none of it is true.

“There are plans in place to demolish part of the building and make it into apartments.

“It’s not true to say the community would have to save the site. The plans haven’t changed at all.”

The page ‘Churchills Accrington’ links to a separate site called ‘Friends of Accrington Conservative Club’ which urges people to donate and save the building via Paypal.

The campaign page claims community-funded repairs could save the building, which was formerly the nightclub Churchills.

The Friends of Accrington Conservative Club web page also features pictures from the 1960s of the site’s famous ballroom at the height of its glory.

Ward councillor June Smith said she was alarmed that people had been urged to donate towards the building.

She said: “Only the owner can make repairs so it would seem to be something people should be wary of.

“The owner would be responsible for making any repairs.

“It’s not down to the community.

“Though people love the Conservative Club and have fond memories of it they should double check what is really happening before putting any money forward.” Deputy council leader Clare Pritchard said: “As the building is owned by somebody, it’s not something a community group would tackle.

“People need to check out the validity of any schemes before they part with any money.”

Administrators of the Facebook page referred to themselves as ‘site managers’ and said they had the owner’s permission to carry out repairs.

Calls for donations of money, goods and services are made online through the page, which has 343 friends.

When contacted by the Lancashire Telegraph, the site’s administrator said they were simply hoping to help after seeing other Facebook petitions to save the building.